Are you a member of the Department of Defense (DoD) planning a temporary duty (TDY) trip? Look no further! In this article, we will unravel the intricacies of TDY travel policies to ensure a seamless experience for you. From understanding the different types of TDY orders to navigating the Defense Travel System (DTS) interface, we’ve got you covered.
Exploring Temporary Duty (TDY)
TDY refers to official duties performed by military or civilian DoD members at a location other than their permanent duty station. Whether it’s attending a training course, carrying out special assignments, filling in interim duties, or supporting military operations, TDY plays a vital role in DoD operations.
Types of TDY Orders
TDY orders come in various forms, each serving a different purpose:
- Invitational TDY Orders: Extended to subject matter experts or individuals contributing to a mission, such as consultants or educators.
- Permissive TDY Orders: Issued when the government does not fund travel but allows individuals to undertake activities like job hunting or house hunting in connection with retirement, separation, or Permanent Change of Station (PCS).
- Directed TDY Orders: The most common form of TDY, where individuals travel to perform duties in the interest of the DoD. The government covers all necessary expenses in this case.
TDY Travel Policies and Procedures
Before embarking on your TDY journey, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures governing TDY travel.
Travel and Transportation Policies
When it comes to selecting the mode of transportation, factors such as distance, urgency, and available options should be taken into account. While commercial air travel is the norm for long-distance trips, government air (military aircraft) is utilized if it aligns with mission requirements. Additionally, the use of taxis, shuttles, or other local transportation is encouraged to ensure cost-effectiveness.
Government lodging should be utilized whenever available. In cases where government lodging is not an option, travelers should opt for commercial lodging that is cost-effective and aligns with mission requirements.
Per Diem and Other Reimbursements
Per diem rates, established by the DoD, vary based on location and cover lodging, meals, and incidental expenses. It is crucial to ensure that claims comply with DoD regulations and steer clear of unauthorized expenses or excessive per diem rates.
Navigating the Defense Travel System (DTS)
The Defense Travel System (DTS) is a fully integrated, electronic travel management system designed to automate TDY travel for the DoD. It offers a user-friendly interface tailored to travelers, approving officials, and finance personnel.
Interface and User Navigation
The DTS interface consists of various sections, each serving a specific purpose:
- My Profile: Access and manage personal, contact, and banking information.
- Authorizations/Vouchers: Create and manage travel authorizations and vouchers.
- Travel: Arrange travel for authorized trips.
- Expenses: Itemize expenses for reimbursement.
- Approvals: Review and approve/reject travel authorizations and vouchers.
As users become more acquainted with DTS, navigation within the system becomes second nature, facilitating efficient creation and management of travel orders and vouchers.
Preparing and Submitting a Travel Voucher
A travel voucher serves as an official record of expenses incurred during TDY and forms the basis for reimbursement. To ensure accurate submission and timely reimbursement, follow these steps:
- Initiate a New Voucher: Access the “Authorizations/Orders” section in DTS and create a new voucher based on the respective TDY authorization.
- Fill out the Basic Information: Confirm and update TDY period, contact information, itinerary, and other relevant details.
- Enter Expenses: Itemize and enter all expenses incurred during travel, attaching receipts for expenses exceeding $75.
- Substantiating Records: Attach relevant documents, such as lodging receipts and airline boarding passes.
- Pre-audit and Review: Correct any potential issues or errors highlighted during the automatic pre-audit conducted by the DTS system.
- Digital Signature: Review all entered details and sign the document digitally.
- Submit the Voucher: Send the voucher for approval, triggering a review process by your Approving Official.
Troubleshooting Common DTS Issues
While using the DTS system, you might encounter technical difficulties or have policy-related questions. Here are a few steps to help address common issues:
- Technical Issues: Check your internet connection and browser compatibility, clear your browser cache and cookies, ensure proper insertion of your Common Access Card (CAC), and contact the Local Network Enterprise Center or DTS help desk for further assistance.
- Policy Questions: Refer to the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) for comprehensive guidelines, consult your Approving Official or local finance office for clarification, and reach out to your chain of command or supervisor if needed.
Assistance Resources and Dispute Resolution
If you require further assistance or encounter disputes during the TDY travel process, you can turn to various resources:
- DTS Help Desk: For technical support and basic policy guidance.
- Local DTS Administrator: Offering hands-on assistance and in-depth knowledge of DTS.
- Training Resources: Comprehensive training materials provided by the Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO), including user guides and instructional videos.
- JTR and DoD Instructions: The ultimate sources of policy guidance.
Remember, DTS is designed to streamline your travel needs. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to seek help rather than navigating challenges on your own.
Planning a TDY trip shouldn’t be overwhelming. By understanding TDY travel policies, navigating the DTS interface, and following the step-by-step guide to voucher preparation, you’ll be well-equipped to embark on your TDY journey. Bon voyage!